1938 (pre): Fishpond Road’s Black Dog
In the village of Willoughton, in Lincolnshire, England, there was a pond called Blyborough Fishpond; the road that passed this pond had a history of being haunted by a Black Dog.
Sometime before 1938, when an account of the matter was published, Ethel Rudkin was told by an informant she only identified as "Mrs. G.B." that in this woman's younger days she used to meet a young man (now her husband) each evening and they would walk together to the pond, then head in different directions; Mrs. G.B. would take the road by Blyborough Fishpond to head to the village of Grayingham alone. One night she became aware that a large Black Dog was following behind her, which she found annoying, so she slowed down to allow the creature to catch up with her. As the strange animal came side to side with the walking woman, she quickly lifted her umbrella and struck at the Black Dog as hard as she could... and the blow passed clean through the animal's body, without disturbing it. The Black Dog continued to walk beside her until they came to the ash tree at the end of Chapels Lane, where the beast vanished either up the tree or into it.
This account was taken from a collection of Lincolnshire, England, Black Dog accounts gathered by Folklorist Ethel Rudkin in 1938, hence the year given of pre-1938. The purpose of her study was to record the beliefs in the county regarding the phantom-like Black Dogs. While an argument could be put forward that the people Rudkin talked to simply encountered a real dog that was black, the point to the collection was that none of these people believed that to be the case... every single person she included in her collection was sure they had encountered the supernatural creature labeled a 'Black Dog.' As to the question of the intelligence or veracity of the people interviewed, Rudkin herself stated:
"I would like to emphasise this point: I have never yet had a Black Dog story from anyone who was weak either in body or mind."
As with all accounts from Rudkin, it is entirely up to you to decide if it is true or not; but, in either case, it still evidences the beliefs regarding the Black Dog spirits in the area.